Strong quarterly performance tempered by weakening economic outlook, notes Rio Tinto

In its latest quarterly report, Rio Tinto has pointed to a strong performances at several operational mines in its global portfolio, while flagging ‘considerable’ headwinds in China and a ‘weakening’ economic outlook.

“We strengthened our operational performance at a number of sites, which we will now replicate across the portfolio,” chief executive Jakob Stausholm said in the company’s quarterly report which was published today.

Rio produced more iron ore, bauxite and copper in the second quarter from the previous corresponding period, with iron ore in particular up by 4% to 78.6 million tonnes and shipments up by 5% to 79.9 million tonnes.

The world’s second largest miner delivered first iron ore at Gudai-Darri – its first greenfields mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia for over a decade. Rio also ‘fired the first draw bell’ at the Oyu Tolgoi underground project in Mongolia last month, and started producing scandium and tellurium from existing waste streams at an existing titanium operation in Québec and a copper operation in Utah.

However, the firm said prices for its commodities decreased during the second quarter of 2022, based on growing fears of a recession and declining consumer confidence.

“China’s industrial activity troughed in May amid COVID lockdowns,” Rio said in the report. “June recovered but uncertainties remain given the potential for ongoing outbreaks.

“Economic stability is a focus (in China), but headwinds are considerable from restricted labour and goods movement and a slowing external environment.”